Is Fallon the Xer Who Will Millennialize Late Night?

Jimmy Fallon is not a Millennial. At 36-years-old, he is firmly in the camp of the Gen Xer—but you wouldn’t be blamed for mistaking him for a member of the more optimistic, less-cynical generation when watching his takeover of The Tonight Show since last MondayAfter years of Leno and Letterman’s wry, sarcastic take on pop culture dominating late night, Fallon’s approach is unapologetically positive and inclusive. Fallon could be the first late night host to appeal to the Millennial audience. Ratings for the show actually improved over the course of last week for viewers between 18 and 49 (the “money category” for late night shows) delivering a number that was the best viewer score for that demo on a Wednesday night for the show in 10 years. Nothing about the long-term future of his audience can be determined yet, but he’s already in a better position that most to lure Millennials to late night TV. Many grew up watching him on SNL, but that’s just one advantage—his personality and approach to comedy make him more Millennial-friendly than any other host. Here are just some of the reasons that Fallon may be the Xer who will Millennialize late night:
 
1. They’re actually excited for him.
Throughout last week, one of the biggest differences between Jimmy Fallon and his predecessor became clear: Millennials are actually excited for Fallon, and they’re celebrating his show. His premiere resulted in a slew of blogosphere output chronicling and complimenting the moments of the first show, like “The 35 Best Moments From Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’ Debut” GIF gallery posted on Buzzfeed. UPROXX’s effusive posting on the celebrity cameo skit of the premiere might have put the reaction best: ”You might say the cameo-heavy segment was just like the thing Jay Leno tried to do, except…

 
 

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“Art is basically my job and I enjoy it so much.”—Female, 15, MD

Snap is making its “biggest move” in scripted original content, teaming up with NBCUniversal and the Duplass brothers for their next series. The Duplass-owned creative studio Donut will produce original series for Snap shot in vertical video. NBCU and Snap will also be opening a joint digital content studio focused completely on mobile-first entertainment, “formaliz[ing] their partnership” and putting Snap firmly in the producing/original content creation camp. Snap’s mobile-only approach is part of a movement to shake up how we view videos—in fact, they’re calling their offering “a fundamentally new medium.” (THRTechCrunch)

Eggo frozen waffles are capitalizing on their unexpected Stranger Things’ fame. The brand has seized the marketing opportunity of being a part of one of Millennials & Gen Z’s favorite shows, tying themselves into Netflix’s Super Bowl ad, creating a special toaster for select fans, and swarming New York Comic Con with people dressed up like Eleven armed with “watch party kits” (aka “waffles and a microwavable syrup server”). To prep for the premiere of season two of the show, Eggo is sending out a fully-loaded food truck for the red carpet premiere, and going all out on social media to connect with fans. (MediaPost)

More teens than ever have severe anxiety, but why? The American College Health Association found a 12% increase in undergrads reporting “overwhelming anxiety” from 2011 to 2016, and several studies concur that “there’s just been a steady increase of severely anxious students.” Social media is part of the problem—constant like-monitoring and cyber bullying isn’t helping the most stressed generation to date. There’s also an increasing (and constant) perceived need to over-achieve. One psychology professor observes, “There’s always one more activity, one more A.P. class, one more thing to do in order to get into a top college.” (NYTimes)

Ypulse research has shown that 88% of Millennial parents are trying to avoid helicopter parenting—but they might not be able to help it. The constant media storm of global atrocities and everyday stories of parenting gone wrong combined with advertisers’ willingness to fear-monger, results in a generation of (understandably) anxious parents. It doesn’t help that the tech to constantly monitor kids is easily available (albeit pricey)—from drone surveillance meant for the military to devices that track “blood-oxygen levels all night long.” One relationship therapist sums up, “Everyone is having a hard time drawing a line and just figuring out what’s reasonable versus what’s over-protective.” (Refinery29)

Brands are turning college students into mini-sales forces. Aerie, Victoria’s Secret Pink, and Express are just a few of the many brands that have a program for college campus reps where students receive swag, experience, and other perks for helping bring brand awareness to their colleges. Though brands don’t always require social posts, most ambassadors do share their swag on social, bringing organic ads to their friends’ feeds. The biggest draw is that social posts from reps “[come] across as natural, authentic, a product that they would normally use or want to talk about.” (Racked)

“[Celebrity] can mean anything nowadays and it's a rather diluted term; from YouTube star, to someone on Instagram with millions of followers, to reality TV dopes, etc.”—Male, 30, WI

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